LifeWay has recently announced several changes to their retail store approach. Eric Geiger, LifeWay’s Chief Business Officer, explains:
“Because of our commitment to our stores we are transforming how we work internally. We are doing this so we can better serve the Church in Her mission of making disciples and better help believers who come into our stores navigate their faith journeys. There are two approaches that capture the changes we have made and are making:
Vertical Integration: For years LifeWay had a team of people who created resources and a different team of people who curated resources in our stores. For example, there was a Bible team who created Bibles and a different team who curated Bibles in our stores. We now have one team for each audience, which allows for greater collaboration, synergy, and the marrying of expertise in content with experience of leading a store’s operation. Already, just a few months into vertical integration, the combined teams are creating workshops and other events that we are testing in stores and seeing customers engage these new opportunities—opportunities that serve multiple audiences with resources from a variety of publishers and messages.
Brick and Mortar Transformation: Having over 170 store environments means we can test a lot of things at one time in different stores. The early results from face-out curation in books, face-out curation with greater depth of workbooks in Bible studies, resources exclusive to LifeWay stores, strategic product giveaways, and inviting different audiences to our stores that our ministry areas have invested years in building and serving have all been encouraging and are moving us forward with many more tests on the horizon.
The team I lead is grateful for the past, for the leaders and partners who built a system we are enjoying, one that allows LifeWay to serve more than 40,000 people a day through our stores. That type of organization, structure, and rhythm of daily execution does not happen overnight and I did not build it. Others who came before me labored to build it and I am thankful for their work. Our gratitude for them compels us to look to the future.
We are also thankful for the publishers and vendors who have partnered with LifeWay Christian Stores over the years and look forward to a continued and sustainable future together. But even more than focusing on the future of our respective organizations, we are compelled by those moments when we can help a believer in their faith journey and know that is what must pull us all into the future.
Because of those moments and others like them, our team is committed to our stores. The resources we sell in our stores are in other channels too, channels we own and others we don’t, but we know the experience of a Christian brick and mortar environment has the potential to be unique and particularly helpful to the people we serve.”